Canberra Times – For the best part of four decades, the sounds of Channel Nine’s iconic cricket broadcast theme music have announced not just the start of a cricket broadcast but of an Australian summer and a national obsession that’s included hours on the couch and rounds of backyard cricket.
- But confirmation that News Corp’s Foxtel, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, and Seven West Media, controlled by Kerry Stokes, have wrested the rights from Channel Nine represent not just a billion -dollar shake-up in television broadcast, but a changing of the guard in the cultural order.
- Where the late Kerry Packer shook things up via revolution, reinventing broadcasting of the game and bringing cricket as mass entertainment to our living room, this change is more evolution – but no less significant.
- Such has been the shortening of our collective attention span, where 50-over cricket once proved attractive for the casual viewer by getting rid of the boring bits of long-form cricket – now Twenty20 gets rid of the boring bits from the short-form game.
- But will holding the rights to a declining form of the game in international ODIs provide the lure to the Murdoch empire’s desire to grow viewers and revenue on its pay service?
- Cricket Australia has garnered a hefty premium for the rights – but is there potential for alienating fans by hiving off a popular yet declining form of the game behind a paywall?